From The Suburban:
"The Jewish General Hospital is the latest institution to contend with a tenacious stomach flu outbreak that has found its way into several acute and long-term healthcare facilities on the island.
A rash of new cases at the hospital over the weekend is seriously hampering patient admission because otherwise empty beds in isolated affected wards can not be used. On Saturday, 41 beds were unavailable.
“We’ve been able to manage the number of cases very, very well until this weekend, when we began having new cases appear on other wards,” said Dr. Joseph Portnoy, an infectious diseases specialist and director of professional services at the Jewish General.
“The impact of the beds being closed is that the patients from emergency can’t be admitted, and so it backs up emergency. Because of this back-up, we decided that we were going to limit the elective surgery that will require hospitalization in order to free these beds for our patients in the emergency room.”
As of Tuesday morning, 18 patients at the hospital had come down with viral gastroenteritis, whose hallmark symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Visitors are being asked to avoid coming to the hospital.
“It’s an epidemic that’s taking place in our community and we’re seeing the spill of it. We’re also concerned that our staff will get sick, because if our staff gets sick who’s going to take care of all the patients,” said Portnoy. According Suzanne Gold, as of Monday night, eight staff were affected.
Dr. Terry Tannenbaum, interim director of the health protection unit for the Montreal Public Health Department, says there are 11 acute care institutions and 16 long-term care facilities grappling with ongoing outbreaks. An outbreak cannot be declared finished unless 96 hours have passed after the end of symptoms in the last case.
“The problem is that if there is still disease going on in the community, there could still be either new patients coming in or healthcare workers who are getting sick despite the fact there are control measures that are in place in the hospital,” she said,
Tannenbaum was reluctant to call the current rash of illness “an epidemic” because it suggests a situation that it out of control."
The norovirus is really digging itself in, especially in the clinics. I fear it may turn into a hospital-bread super-bug. A MRSA-strength stomach flu doesn't sound very nice to have around.
As for you Dr. Tannenbaum (interim director), it doesn't sound like you have this under control in the least bit. Call an outbreak an outbreak and call an epidemic and epidemic. For gods sake, stop playing semantic politics with a critical public health situation!